The Guaranteed Lowest-Cost Way to Better Batches: Manufacturing Mindfully with TraKit
My previous blog, The Four Things You Need for a Guaranteed Flawless Batch, ended on kind of a downer.
Absence of automation leaves control the most vulnerable of the four categories, though data collection and processing can go a long way toward reducing risk.
I want to make amends. There is something meaningful you can do right now – even if your factory hardware is as simple as what you see in the picture.
Do everything right.
The computers that direct automated processes pay single-minded attention to the task at hand. To make better batches, we humans need to emulate that sharp focus. We need to be mindful; we need to be dependably and consistently in a state of awareness.
Awareness includes choosing to be in the right place to perform the duties required. It is pointless to be aware of a task that we must address but can’t get to because we are somewhere else doing something else.
If we did all these things well, we’d be in control of our batches. And we’d be more profitable, released from the burden of rework (and failed batches). To understand what’s holding us back let’s recognize the built-in challenges of our daily time management:
Supervisors want perfect batches, but they also don’t want Workers standing around idly between long steps in the process. So, they assign additional work.
Workers want perfect batches, too, but they also want to impress their Supervisors with all the additional productivity they can be counted on to do.So, they multi-task as well as they can, deciding where to be and what to do.
What we need is a way to monitor whether the primary objective – a flawless batch – is consistently getting the mindful attention necessary; and the secondary objective - any other thing - is attentively handled, but not at the expense of the batch.
That’s what TraKit does. It’s a tablet-based app that connects the worker with the batch; with the “other thing” – and with the Supervisor. There is no wiring needed; no installation of anything; and the app can be used immediately.
TraKit assures that time is managed in a way that maximizes productivity.
What makes TraKit so easy to pick up and use is that it is actually an electronic replacement for paper batch records; the inputs are stored in a Cloud database. TraKit explodes the limitations of paper because the Supervisor – located anywhere - can use a phone or a tablet to check that database and know exactly what all his/her reports are seeing and doing. Consider: the Supervisor can request a photo of whatever dial or thermometer the Worker actually used to read the system status. That dashboard in the picture may be really simple, but with TraKit any data available can be provably used to its maximum.
Meanwhile, the Workers are never over-burdened by TraKit tasks because they are merely filling out an electronic version of a batch card and adding an occasional image, as needed. Indeed, they can even continue to use their old paper records, making introduction of TraKit a totally risk-free proposition.
TraKit uses the Internet of Things to make technology and psychology meet each other.
The Supervisor can choose to use the Cloud-based TraKit to check Worker status at any time - but is never flooded by unwanted status reports. And the Worker inevitably becomes more accountable than ever before to a Supervisor who is always able to check on that Worker’s status. Less stress, more clarity and focus for the Supervisor – now assured that the batch is the priority item - but also that all Worker time is productively used.
Rather than being a burden to the Worker, this virtual supervision effect is a boon. Now he/she can attend to the needs of the batch and avoid the shame of a bad batch and simultaneously demonstrate that the other tasks are conscientiously addressed – but never at the expense of the batch. Multi-tasking mindfully, the Worker experiences reduced stress with increased focus and attentiveness.
We don't perform at our peak when overwhelmed. With TraKit, a mindful approach to all factory needs is assured, enabling optimized use of everyone’s time. And a no-cost byproduct is a reviewable electronic record that can be examined for further ways to better manage time.
Indeed, there is something we can do for control. With TraKit, we can do everything right.